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A Look Into the Hiring Pipeline: How to Fine Tune the Interviewing Process

Sourabh Sahay

Director of Engineering at Booking.com

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Translating Talent Background

When you have a company which functions solely off of remote operations, you source a very wide pool of candidates from all over the globe. This has shown to affect the outcome of talent acquisition in quite an interesting way.

Demographics have shown that folks from London take a different approach than, let’s say, Germany where their initiatives are more based on machine companies like Mercedes Benz, VM, etc. This goes as well for New York candidates from the west coast, and so on. This presents itself as a channel to then translate talent backgrounds into roles and formats that will best fit them – making it more efficient for a company.

Where Are the Candidates Being Rejected?

Once you recognize that you are sourcing candidates that vary immensely in culture, background, initiatives, and beyond you can begin to take the hiring process into consideration. Refinement is necessary to find where your candidates might be getting rejected.

It is not that the candidates are not good enough, but it can be identified as an error in the hiring approach.

The challenge is being able to refine your interviewing process and take a second glance at where it can improve in order to determine good candidacy; it is not solely a fit for skill. We were realizing that people from different prior careers, for example a banking background, were not as familiar with the certain hiring processes that perhaps someone from Microsoft or Amazon might be. Just because a candidate may be well acquainted with what we are looking for in an interview, does not automatically make them the best candidate. This is where our process needed to transform.

Additionally, most of our candidates were not simply doing codes and solving problems on their day-to-day basis. They were involved in long term strategies like getting involved with organization setups, architecture, and design, etc. So how could we help utilize those skills and make room for those kinds of strengths to be seen during our interviewing process?

Taking a Holistic Approach

Adopting a broader perspective when it comes to hiring can happen when you take on the notion that you are looking for effective candidates. Oftentimes that does not mean a one-size-fits-all approach.

It is beneficial to consider that although certain candidates may not come with an already deep tech infrastructure background, that does not mean they are not going to be successful in their role. They are applying because they feel capable and willing, it takes more than just measuring skill to fully determine the appropriateness of a candidate.

Product thinking can be mapped. So how do you map it? Well, during the interview process it is important to take an inclusive approach in order to find the answers about the candidate that you are looking for; answers that help define their projected outcomes of success.

Taking a holistic approach when it comes to hiring means to be able to consider more than just their technical skill. Look at their ability to problem solve, their cultural fit, their experience, their overall patterns of efficiency, among many other factors we were simply missing before we fine tuned our interviewing structures.

Finding the Right Fit

In order to find the right fit, you need to interview effectively. This is something that cannot be looked over if you are truly looking to create a more holistic, dynamic, and inclusive company; a company driven for better outcomes of success.

If you only look for technical backgrounds, you might just miss the opportunity to hire someone who has a lot more to bring to the table. People come from all walks of life, backgrounds, skills, and I feel like they are all extremely important to consider when taking a look at your interviewing process.

  • Make an interview template. Create a structure for what exactly you are looking for, and be able to implement that during your interview. This will help you get a better view on whether or not a candidate is going to be the right fit for the company or not. You can form questions that identify their strengths and be able to see where those strengths might really benefit your teams.

  • Open up your approach to hiring. A close-minded perspective to hiring will get you a load of technical experts, and perhaps lack a human element needed for longevity and success.

  • Continually refine your interviewing processes. If you don’t look at your interviewing process and ask yourself if it still is relevant to your mission you will be generating the same pool of new hires over and over again. It is important to transform this process to grow in new ways as a company. Being closed off is never a pathway to optimal organizational success.


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Sourabh Sahay

Director of Engineering at Booking.com


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